Unemployment rises in B.C. 

Despite the increase in jobs, B.C.'s jobless rate continued to grow by 0.2 per cent in May to a 7.6 per cent, with seasonal adjustments. Those figures are not so much the result of lost jobs as they are of the labour force increasing by 0.3 per cent, while the number of jobs increased by just 0.1 per cent.

Young people aged 15 to 24 had the highest unemployment rate of 11.7 per cent, compared to 6.8 per cent for people aged 25 and up.

B.C. is still in good shape compared to the rest of the country. The Canada-wide unemployment rate is currently sitting at 8.4 per cent, the highest national rate in 11 years. Ontario has been hardest hit, particularly by declines in manufacturing, and is close to double-digit unemployment with a May rate of 9.4 per cent.

The lowest unemployment is in the prairie provinces, with Manitoba and Saskatchewan sitting at 4.9 per cent. Alberta's unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent in May.

Within B.C. the highest rate of unemployment is at Dawson Creek (15.2 per cent), followed by Prince George at 11.6 per cent, Kelowna at 11.5 per cent, Chilliwack at 10.7 per cent and Kamloops at 9.7 per cent.

One of the reasons for the decline is the drop in new construction. April building permits were down 36.5 per cent compared to March, despite a four per cent increase in residential building permits. Institutional and government, industrial and commercial projects all declined significantly.

Wages for B.C. workers also fell 1.3 per cent for the first quarter of 2009, compared to a national slide of 0.7 per cent. The median after-tax income of B.C. families increased by 4.7 per cent to $47,000, just $300 higher than the national average.


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